I'm trying out the Kindle. So far I love it. It's true that the sort of books I read are generally not available in Kindle's format (sold only through Amazon), but a few are: e.g. Joan Didion's Political Fictions, including the fabulous essay "Clinton Agonistes." So I'm reading Didion on this little beautifully designed device. It feels very much like a paperback (it's intentionally the same size as most paperbacks). I like the way I navigate it. I've also subscribed to two newspapers (the Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer) and three Kindle-versioned blogs (Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Slate's blog). The newspapers are downloaded automatically to the Kindle early in the morning; the blogs are updated almost hourly. The thing uses the cellular network and so can download books or update blogs anywhere where one is in the range of cell service.
I do intend to use all the above, but my main notion is to read chapters, books, articles etc. of the sort that are sent to me as email attachments. I have found that I was only reading some of these, even if the Word doc sent to me was important or timely. I've downloaded such things - let's say the draft of an essay a friend is writing, or a dissertation chapter - but have felt it wasteful to print them out; yet if I didn't print them yet swore I'd read on the desktop's screen or even on my laptop, I never quite got to it. I still like to read while supine - and, in any case, somewhere away from my desk.
The Kindle is set up to enable one to email oneself (to an @kindle.com address that is automatically created at the time of purchase) any document. It arrives on the Kindle quickly and appears like any other book or article. Below you see Rachel Blau DuPlessis's new short essay on re-reading George Oppen. Below that you can see the Kindle it its black leather case - looking rather, again, like a paperback or small notebook. The thing travels well.